Saturday, January 26, 2008

On Tuesday at EclipseCon...

OK, round two. I'm on Daddy duty all weekend while my wife is in New Brunswick celebrating her mother's birthday with her... So I'll see if I can't finish making my talk selections between gymnastics, Gymboree, soccer, Music for Young Children, groceries, skating, cooking, dishes, and changing diapers. Piece of cake, right? Meh.


I'm not sure how I missed this one on the first day... Yeah, I know it's not a talk, but hey, a man's gotta eat!

Keynote - Dan Lyons

Steve Jobs or not, this one should prove to be entertaining. I'm down with satire and I'm sure this keynote won't disappoint.

Apples and Oranges or Fruit Salad? A look at open source versus commercial platform strategies

Hey, who let this guy (back) in? Seriously, there are two sides to every story... and I think the world is much better off with fruit salad than a choice between just apples and oranges (even if one tastes better than the other).

Software Metrics - The Good, The Bad and the CRAPpy

I've heard of code smell, but this is taking it to the next level. I'm not sure about the sober part, but I like the sound of metrics for bad code, now that I don't get to write as much of it as I used to. Did I just say that? Oh man, I really am becoming a manager... :(

Open Source Meets Open Specifications: Eclipse and the OMG

I guess I probably have to attend this one (and you should too!), seeing as I'm presenting it. Unless, of course, I can figure out Bernd's secret...

Server-Side Eclipse - the dynamic server platform based on OSGi

Cool, so I'll get to see Jochen speak after all (after missing his tutorials on Monday).

Designing Business and Technical User Interfaces in Eclipse RCP Applications

This is a subject I have been keenly interested in for some time... to me, the major issue with developing products based on Eclipse today is consumability. I was considering submitting a talk in this subject myself, so I'll be curious to hear what Morten has to say.

Diversity is the Spice of Life

Ah, the dynamic duo! They've obviously been eating some of Tim's fruit salad. I'm part of the community that they'll be referencing, so I'd better listen in to keep them honest.

Exhibits Reception

Again, not a talk, but a man also has to drink! Oh, and collect free goodies for the kids. ;)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

On Biting the Dust...

And so the exodus continues. Now I can't get that song out of my head: "it won't be long 'til another one's gone...". It's as if, now that this whole open source thing has taken on a life of its own, its key contributors are taking on lives of their own. Talk about a revolution...

I, too, recall the glory days of OTI. Yes, I was there for a spell, if even just as a co-op student. Gone are the times when you could get paid to do things like develop a MUD using a real programming language... right Jeff? Ah, the memories.

It's now been just over half a year since Wassim and I left the good ship for green pastures. I say "green" and not "greener", because I don't think the grass is ever greener on the other side - just different. Ed marked the occasion by citing one of my favorite poems. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before he blogs about this latest departure.

Wassim and I had an occasion to pen some poetry of our own not too long ago when the Toronto office held a limerick contest at its annual Christmas, er, holiday party. I bet Wassim thinks I'll never know where he came up with so many creative entries... Here's one of the ones I submitted:

There once were two men from Big Blue
Who wondered what next they would do.
Along came a suitor,
Kevork the recruiter,
And now they are working with you!

Suffice it to say that neither Wassim nor I won the contest... I guess we'll have to keep our day jobs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

On Monday at EclipseCon...

This sucks. There are so many interesting talks scheduled at the same time for EclipseCon 2008 that it's going to be really hard to choose which ones to attend. I guess that's a good problem to have, though. ;)

Since it's not possible to create customized tracks on the EclipseCon site this year (at least I couldn't find a way), I decided I'd take the time to make some tough decisions and post the list of talks that I plan to attend on my POB. Originally I thought I'd be able to make my selections in one sitting, but I'm afraid this really is going to take some careful consideration... so I'll have to spread it out over several blog entries.

Here, then, is the list of talks I've selected for Monday (and why):

Data Applications in Eclipse: The Eclipse Data Tools Platform

Right off the bat I'm stuck with choosing between talks I'd really like to attend and ones I feel I should attend. For example, the tutorials on getting started with RAP development and building server-side Eclipse-based Web applications look really promising (not to mention that Ed's recent blog entry has already piqued my interest)... but I work for a data tools company, so how can I not attend the DTP tutorial?

From RCP to RCP/RAP – Conversion and Single-Sourcing Techniques

OK, so it looks like I can get my RAP fix at this tutorial, although it might have been nice to catch the second half of Building Server-Side Eclipse based web applications. It might have also been nice to provide moral support to my brother in poetry from Embarcadero (I've heard he can be "humorous/hilarious" at times)... oh well, I'll have to put this one on my bucket list.

Integrating Reporting into your Application

This was the toughest choice so far (probably because no external influence has made me feel compelled in one direction or another on this one). I also considered catching up with my Modeling brethren in the tutorial on M2T/TMF, or finding out why Spring-OSGi was renamed "Spring DM". I wonder how Bernd is planning to be in two places at once...

How to get the most of the BPMN modeler

Given that the vote to create a new BPMN2 component in the MDT sub-project concluded successfully today, I should probably get the low-down on the state of the art in BPMN tooling at Eclipse. I hope to be working quite closely with these guys in the near future.

Eclipse Community Awards Reception

Finally, an easy (non-)decision.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On The Cost of Free...

Is there such a thing as a free lunch after all? I've been thinking about this a lot since Ed posted his tongue-in-cheek blog entry on the difficulties of valuating the cost of software components in the face of commoditization.

Yes, even entire solutions are sometimes "free". Just today, for example, Embarcadero announced the release of a community edition of EA/Studio, an Eclipse-based business process modeling tool. Similarly, Sybase announced "free use" of their Eclipse-based database development tool in 2008. What are the odds that two vendors of Eclipse-based data tools would make such announcements on the same day? Coincidence? I think not! Clearly it is a sign of the times...

When is free really free? It's a matter of perspective, isn't it? Users don't have to pay money for these tools, but it obviously costs somebody (commercial vendors) something to build them... They say that "the best things in life are free". I'd argue that "best" is the more important word in that expression. It's the quality of these tools that will differentiate them... and ultimately, the marketplace will be the judge!

On The Annual Pilgrimage...

How are you getting to EclipseCon 2008 and where are you staying? Apparently, if you don't make travel arrangements soon (assuming you're going... and you are going), you could be walking there and sleeping on the street, because flights and hotel rooms are filling up fast. Luckily, I reserved my flight and hotel room a couple of weeks ago (but even back then, flight selection out of Ottawa was somewhat limited). Even if the NetBeans Girls (this one's for you, Wassim!) were coming this year, we'd have no place to put them; maybe it's time to consider moving EclipseCon to a larger venue in a more accessible city...

Monday, January 21, 2008

On POBs...

Obviously I'm not nearly as clever as I would like to think I am (but I don't think anyone is, so that's OK). Rather than trying to make a portmanteau (I love that word!) from "Plain Old Blog", I should have made an acronym from it: POB, which is more consistent with the term that inspired it (POJO, an acronym for "Plain Old Java Object"). Is it too late to re-brand my blog as a POB? I wonder if Victoria Beckham would approve...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Vanillogging...

To blog or not to blog? Is that really the question? Apparently it is... assuming you've already answered the question of whether to sign up with Facebook (yeah, I recently got sucked into that vortex, too). So, with the dawn of a New Year, I've finally decided to take the plunge (welcome to the ohties, Kenn!).

Given my bias toward metamodeling, it seemed appropriate for me to start my new endeavor by metablogging - blogging about blogging. First of all, what is a blog (other than a portmanteau of web log)? Upon diligently searching for the term "blog" on Wikipedia, I became aware of several aspects of blogging which I hadn't previously considered.

For one, I hadn't realized that there were so many types of blogs. Who knew blogs were categorized by media type, device, genre, and legal status of their publishers? I suppose if I'm going to have a blog, I should probably decide what type it will be. Initially it seemed that my blog would be a photoblog, seeing as I'd like to start posting pictures to my blog at some point... but apparently a photoblog is supposed to place more emphasis on photos than text. Looking through the other listed types, I couldn't find one that felt quite right, so I've decided that mine will be a plain old blog (at least for now). I thought I'd be clever and coin a new portmanteau for blogs like mine, but it turns out that the term "poblog" has already been claimed by podcasters, poets, and poker players, to mention a few... so I've settled on vanillog - welcome to my vanilla blog!

The second thing I discovered about blogging is how the popularity of blogs is measured - by citation or by affiliation. Seeing as I haven't started blogging for the sake of increased (nor decreased!) popularity, neither of these measures concerns me, although I suppose I should consider adding a blogroll page element to my blog. One step at a time...

Finally, I had no idea what a reckless bunch bloggers are. I hadn't given much forethought to the consequences of blogging, but apparently I'm now at risk of becoming a slanderous, unemployed felon. I considered adding a disclaimer ("the opinions expressed here are mine, yada yada yada") to my blog's header, but then I thought, "Wait a minute! This is my personal blog... shouldn't that be implicit?" I guess not. Oh well... nothing risked, nothing gained, right?

So, for better or worse, here I am, willing to play my part in contributing to the dotsam and netsam of the Web!